Mother and infant are first Hurricane Florence fatalities

Mother and infant are first Hurricane Florence fatalities

To the south, storm surge pushed water levels at Johnny Mercer Pier at Wrightsville Beach, where Florence made landfall at 7:15 a.m. with 90 miles per hour winds, to more than 8.5 feet.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police.

"I think it's going to be a little worse than other people thought", he said, looking out over the beach.

Winds here are still expected to reach a maximum sustained speed of 60 to 70 miles per hour, with peaks reaching in the upper 80s in some Grand Strand regions.

It is expected to move across parts of south-eastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

A video of Weather Channel's Mike Seidel battling wind gusts in the eye of hurricane Florence has gone viral for all the wrong reasons, after two men casually walking by in the background were spotted on live broadcast.

"We are still trying to rescue about 150 residents that did not evacuate, and we are now going in with water rescues to get these folks to a shelter", Outlaw said.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned that life-threatening storm surges - in which water is pushed by a storm over land that would normally be dry - and catastrophic freshwater flooding were still expected. The slow-moving, hurricane - downgraded to a tropical storm around 5 p.m. Friday - is expected to linger over the area this weekend continuing to create a unsafe situation.

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence began battering the coast of North and South Carolina Thursday with strong winds and rain. Harris Teeter, a Kroger Co. subsidiary, announced closings for 24 stores in North Carolina and 18 stores in SC.

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"This storm will bring destruction", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. "But I think we're ready". As the storm stalled, forecasters warned "torrential rains will come:" an additional 20 to 25 inches in eastern North Carolina and up to 15 inches inland.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the hurricane centre said. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

Airlines canceled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday.

Local authorities reported another death, in Pender County, when downed trees prevented emergency units from reaching a woman with a medical condition.

Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and that restoring it could take weeks.

Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the electricity went out.

"(Its) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and fears splintering trees will pummel her house.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia. It also led many people to mock the reporter for his demeanor reporting on the storm.

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